Last night’s plan by The United States House Select Committee On The January 6 Attack, to promote public interest in their first major hearing on the January 2021 Capitol insurrection by running said hearing during primetime TV hours, appears to have worked. Per The New York Times, more than 20 million people tuned in to the two-hour hearing last night, getting treated to testimony about false voter fraud claims and previously unseen footage of the attack. Said viewers did so on pretty much all the major networks—except, of course, Fox News, which instead spent most of that same time mocking the committee and its efforts to establish how and why the U.S. Capitol was invaded on January 6, 2021.
As the Times notes, these are “Sunday Night Football” numbers, rather than the bigger pull of presidential debates or even the State Of The Union. But as far as live broadcasts of Congressional hearings go, 20 million is still huge. ABC apparently did the best off of the broadcast, bringing in 4.88 million, followed by MSNBC (4.16 million), NBC (3.56 million), CBS (3.37 million), and CNN (2.62 million). The Fox Business broadcast of the hearings, which was offered as an option to Fox Network affiliates, only did about 200,000 viewers; meanwhile, professional peanut gallery resident Tucker Carlson brought in about 3.3 million (pretty normal for his network) with his commentary on the hearing.
Meanwhile, one of the more notable appearances at the hearing came from documentarian Nick Quested, who was embedded with alt-right polo-clad dweebuses the Proud Boys, and who filmed them on the day of the attack. In addition to his bona fides as a documentarian and film producer, Quested is, as noted by Slate, a veteran music video director; as far as we know, this is the first time Congress has entertained testimony about an organized attack on our nation’s democratic foundations from a guy who also directed videos for G-Dep, Trick Daddy, and DMX. So…that’s neat!
Ratings are, of course, not the point of all this, but they are a decent metric for how much attention the Jan. 6 Committee is pulling as it attempts to establish Donald Trump’s complicity in the attack on the Capitol, and the ultimate goals of the invaders had they not been repelled. The second hearing is currently scheduled for June 13.